“Invisible” disease sends liver cancer risk soaring

Dear Living Well Daily Reader,

With almost no symptoms in the beginning, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) could be stalking you right now without you having a clue.

In fact, studies show that 25 percent of Americans already have the disease. And those numbers are on the rise.

What’s so bad about having some fat in your liver? A LOT.

The fat buildup is a sign that your overworked liver can no longer do its job effectively. As fat accumulates, it can lead to increased inflammation, liver damage, and eventually liver failure. It’s part of why there’s a virtual epidemic of people needing liver replacements right now.

Worst of all, having a fatty liver can send your risk of liver cancer soaring by a stunning 17 TIMES!

But not everyone with NAFLD gets liver cancer, of course. And knowing precisely who IS most at risk could help save lives.

Now scientists say we can do exactly that.

The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, uncovered a group of blood markers that point the way to the people at the highest risk for NAFLD-linked liver cancer.

Traditionally, people with NAFLD are forced to have ultrasounds of their livers every six months. Ultrasounds are relatively painless, but they can be uncomfortable and lead to a lot of anxiety.

The researchers analyzed the blood of 409 NAFLD patients. They pinpointed a set of 133 genes that were expressed at higher or lower levels in those folks who developed liver cancer during a 15-year follow-up period.

The volunteers were divided into high and low-risk groups based on how much the identified genes were expressed. A sobering 22.7 percent of the participants in the high-risk group developed cancer. While no one in the low-risk group developed the disease.

In other words, we can now test to see which folks fall into the low-risk group. Those who do can skip the twice-yearly ultrasound and just use a blood test alone to monitor their status.

But I have an even better idea. How about we take steps to help stop NAFLD in its tracks instead?

You see, a healthy liver breaks down the fats we eat and converts excess carbs and proteins into forms that can be stored and used later. But when the liver is overwhelmed and can’t process and break down fats as it should, that fat starts to build up.

But we CAN take steps to avoid this fat accumulation from occurring in the first place.

Dr. Scott’s Fatty Liver Fix:

  • Control blood sugar. Cut way back on added sugars, ultra-processed high-carb foods, and starchy vegetables in your diet. Foods like pasta, crackers, and white bread quickly convert to glucose in your blood, eventually leading to fat buildup around your liver. Exercise regularly. A brisk daily walk should do the trick. And consider taking supplements that support healthy blood sugar levels, such as berberine, curcumin, and chromium.
  • Ditch the sugary drinks. This step goes along with controlling your blood sugar. But sugary drinks are so bad for your liver that they deserve some special attention. You should BAN these beverages from your life. That includes sodas, fruit juices, flavored coffee drinks, sports drinks, and sweet teas. They send your blood sugar soaring, causing insulin levels to spike. And this can lead to fat building up in your liver.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Keeping your weight in check can be easier said than done. But there are steps you can take to help you reach a healthy weight, including boosting your metabolism and maintaining your muscle mass. And when you do, your body becomes better at regulating blood sugar keeping your liver from accumulating more fat.
  • Use liver-supporting herbs. I like milk thistle, dandelion, and turmeric for liver support.
  • Reduce inflammation. Try fish oil, turmeric, and olive leaf extract.

PS: Protecting your liver isn’t just about giving up things. Researchers have found that regularly indulging in THIS delicious beverage could send your risk for liver disease plummeting. Find out what it is right here.


“Molecular signatures of long-term hepatocellular carcinoma risk in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease,” Science Translational Medicine (2022). DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abo4474

Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Written By Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Nearly 25 years ago, failed mainstream medical treatments left Dr. Olson in constant pain – and his health in ruins. And that’s when he did something REVOLUTIONARY. He began his career in medicine – and dedicated his life to uncovering the true, underlying causes of disease.
Through his innovative medical practices in Tennessee and Colorado, Dr. Olson has helped cure countless seniors from across America of arthritis… heart disease… diabetes… and even cancer. All without risky prescription drugs or painful surgeries.

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